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Office of Central Facilities and Public Safety

Bloodborne Pathogens


In 1992 OSHA published Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 dealing with employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens (BBP). As stated in OSHA's the original summary of the Standard (fact sheet 92-46), its purpose is to "limit occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials [OPIM] since any exposure could result in transmission of bloodborne pathogens which could lead to disease or death. . . ."

In 2001 the Standard was modified in response to the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act to require the use of safer needle devices, employee involvement in the selection of such devices, and the implementation of a Sharps Injury Log. The complete Standard may be accessed from  OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens page.

Scope and Application

The Standard covers "all employees who could be 'reasonably anticipated' as the result of performing their job duties to face contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials." (fact sheet 92-46) Note that this does not cover "Good Samaritan" acts, such as assisting a co-worker with a nosebleed.

Program Description

As defined in the Standard, "Bloodborne Pathogens means pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)." Other infectious materials include "(1) [a variety of] human body fluids, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV." (CFR 1910.1030(b))

Employers must meet the following nine requirements to protect employees whose work puts them at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials:

Establish an Exposure Control Plan (ECP) 

This is the central element of the BBP program, as it includes policies and procedures for all other requirements. The plan must be reviewed and updated at least annually "to reflect technological changes that will help eliminate or reduce exposure to bloodborne pathogens" and other changes in the workplace.

Each department at the College in which workers may have exposure to bloodborne pathogens is responsible for developing and maintaining an ECP for its work area. The plan must be accessible to employees and available to OSHA. Here is a link to a Model ECP that can be modified for use by your department. The Model ECP can also be accessed from our Forms page.

Use Engineering Controls 

These are controls, such as sharps disposal containers, safer medical devices, etc., "that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace." (CFR 1910.1030(b)) As noted above, the selection process must now include workers who use the devices as well as managerial personnel. The annual review must be documented in the ECP.

Enforce Work Practice Controls 

These are changes in the way a task is performed in order to reduce the likelihood of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. They include procedures for hand washing, sharps disposal, laundry handling, cleaning of contaminated materials, etc.

Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

This may include gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, face shields or masks and eye protection, and other appropriate PPE. The department is responsible for the maintenance and replacement of this equipment, as needed.

Provide Hepatitis B Vaccination 

All employees who have been identified as having the potential for occupational exposure to BBP must be offered vaccination at no cost to them within 10 days of assignment. Under certain circumstances, employees may be exempted. The employee may decline vaccination by signing the Vaccination Declination form. A copy of this required form is included in the Model ECP found on our Forms page.

Hepatitis B Vaccine Request FormHep B Declination

Hep B Vaccine request                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Hep B Declination Form


Provide Post-exposure Follow-up 

Post-exposure follow-up care must be provided to any worker who experiences an exposure incident at no cost and with complete confidentiality. Such care may include laboratory tests; confidential medical evaluation, identifying and testing the source individual; upon consent, testing the worker's blood; prophylaxis; counseling; and evaluating reported illnesses.

Use Hazard Labels and Signs 

Warning labels must be affixed to containers of regulated waste, refrigerators and freezers, and other containers used to store potentially infectious materials. Alternatively, red bags or containers may be used instead of labels. Signs must be posted for any restricted areas.

Provide Employee Training 

Upon initial assignment and at least annually thereafter, employees whose duties put them at risk must receive training in the dangers of bloodborne pathogens, preventive practices and what to do after an accidental exposure. Whenever changes are made to tasks or procedures that affect the employee's occupational exposure, additional training addressing the new exposures shall be given.

Maintain Employee Records 

The employer is required to establish and maintain medical and training records for affected personnel for the duration of their employment plus 30 years. Any employer who is required to maintain a log of occupational injuries and illness must also maintain a Sharps Injury Log.

Roles and Responsibilities


  • Identify personnel, job classifications, and duties that may place individuals at risk for exposure to BBP or OPIM.
  • Establish an ECP.
  • Institute appropriate engineering controls to reduce injury potential.
  • Provide and maintain appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Provide worker training.


  • Ensure workers are trained.
  • Ensure workers use work practice controls.


  • Provide assistance in the evaluation of tasks.
  • Provide advice on how to meet legal requirements.
  • Arrange for training and Hepatitis B vaccination.


  • Follow BBP ECP policies and procedures.
  • Get Hepatitis B vaccination.
  • Attend training.


MC Contacts

For additional information about bloodborne pathogens and Exposure Control Plan requirements or to schedule employee training, please email the Environmental Safety Manager or call (240) 567-4308. You also must contact the Environmental Safety Manager to get authorization for the Hepatitis B vaccination.

Use the Model Exposure Control Plan as a template for your department's ECP.

Poster: Bloodborne Pathogens

Other Resources

When developing your BBP safety program and ECP, the following resources may be useful:
(Note: All links open in a new window. This page will remain available in the current window.)

  1. OSHA's booklet on "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records", as required by 29 CFR 1910.1020
  2. OSHA's Recordkeeping Guide, publication 3169
  3. NIOSH Publication No. 97-111, guidelines for "Selecting, Evaluating, and Using Sharps Disposal Containers" 

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